09/05/12 6:45 PM ET
Maddon laughs off barb from Valentine
By Greg Zeck / MLB.com
When he was asked about showing up late for a game -- at 4 p.m. ET for a 7:15 p.m. game, specifically -- against the Athletics, Valentine said it was due to a delayed flight and traffic jam before taking a jab at Rays manager Joe Maddon.
"Joe Maddon gets there every day at 4 o'clock, just for the record," Valentine said during his call. "When I walked in and someone is going to write that, wouldn't you think that they'd say, 'Hey, why is it that you just got to the ballpark? You're usually here at 2. Why are you here today at 4?' And I could have introduced them to my son and explained to them about the flight that was delayed because of the fog."
Maddon heard about the remarks and was all smiles before Wednesday's series finale against the Yankees.
"I'm very flattered by the whole thing; it's very amusing," Maddon joked. "I'm amused by the moment, and it's flattering that somebody would include me in that conversation."
But it still begs the question: Just when does Maddon arrive at the ballpark?
"It just varies -- it varies on the day," an entertained Maddon said. "I'm here in plenty of time."
Valentine will have his next chance to see exactly when Maddon shows up to Tropicana Field when the Red Sox visit the Rays for a four-game series beginning on Sept. 17.
Rays relieved after Niemann visits Andrews
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays right-hander Jeff Niemann may not be lost for the season, after all, as had been initially feared.
Manager Joe Maddon said the big righty met with Dr. James Andrews and was told that Niemann may be able to start throwing "in a couple of weeks."
Niemann left Saturday's start, his first since coming off the DL, after 3 1/3 innings because of a mild right rotator cuff strain.
"He was checked out, and the doc said it wasn't that bad," Maddon said. "He felt like he could be throwing soon."
Maddon said he hasn't thought about giving Niemann extra work in the offseason but is afraid that if he did, Niemann could pile on too many innings going into the 2013 campaign.
Niemann hasn't been too lucky this season. His first six starts of the year went fairly well, but a comebacker that fractured his right fibula forced Niemann to leave his May 14 start against the Blue Jays after an inning. The injury resulted in a 3 1/2-month trip to the disabled list.
After Niemann made four rehab starts in August, the Rays activated the right-hander with the intention of using him in spot starts or in such a way that other starters would receive an extra day of rest.
Niemann is 2-3 with a 3.08 ERA in eight starts this season.
Up with Rays, De La Rosa 'couldn't be happier'
ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-handed reliever Dane De La Rosa is set to get married on Nov. 3, and the Rays gave him an early wedding gift on Wednesday.
The club called up De La Rosa after his successful season for Triple-A Durham, where he recorded 20 saves and posted a 2.79 ERA.
"I'm just obviously blessed to be here," De La Rosa said. "I've had a lot of people pulling for me. It just worked out, and I couldn't be happier."
De La Rosa appeared in one Major League game this year for Tampa Bay, giving up five runs in one inning against Boston. Knowing that he wouldn't be staying up in the big leagues very long during his previous stint, De La Rosa had packed a small bag of clothes to get him through the trip, but he has a much bigger bag this time around.
"I'll be good for the rest of the time, I'm sure," De La Rosa said.
His single outing with the Rays was far from expected, but De La Rosa has appeared in clutch situations in the Majors before, including the memorable "Game 162" against the Yankees last season, when he tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings to keep the Rays in the game.
"Just be ready," De La Rosa said. "That's kind of how I've been taking it these last three years. I'm just going to do what I do and hopefully I get put in those situations. If I don't, I'll help my team in any way I can."
Tampa Bay also called up Stephen Vogt, who becomes the team's fourth catcher. Vogt spent some time with the Rays this season, going 0-for-17 at the plate, but he fared much better for Durham, hitting .272.
Maddon said there is no innings limit for Tuesday night's winning pitcher, righty Alex Cobb, but the skipper continues to monitor Cobb's workload and could use a spot starter occasionally.
Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.